Florida's No. 2 resigns amid investigation into charity

By Gary Fineout and Curt Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 13 2013 9:20 p.m. MDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An investigation of a purported veterans' charity in Florida led to the resignation of the state's lieutenant governor, who once did public relations for the nonprofit accused of using Internet cafes as a front for an illegal gambling operation.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's resignation, announced Wednesday, came as the owner of an Oklahoma software company and his wife were arrested and accused of supplying illegal gambling software to Allied Veterans of the World, a charity based in St. Augustine, Fla.

Carroll's public relations firm once represented Allied Veterans. Carroll, a Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War, appeared in a TV ad in 2011 promoting the organization's charitable work on behalf of veterans and their families. She has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Carroll's resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott offered no details about her reason for leaving, but the Republican governor's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, said the 53-year-old Republican resigned to ensure her ties to the company would not be a distraction for the administration.

Allied Veterans evolved from a charitable organization that ran bingo games and held bake sales for veterans beginning in 1979 to a group suspected of operating more than 40 illegal gambling locations around Florida, according to an Internal Revenue Service affidavit. The veterans' charity was a fraud, according to the IRS.

"In an effort to mislead the public into believing that it is not profiting from an illegal gambling enterprise, Allied Veterans and others have engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud," the affidavit said.

Carroll's aides said they had no immediate comment Wednesday.

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